Eight awe-inspiring castles in Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 February 2016 | UPDATED: 12:10 25 October 2016
Check out our guide to castles in Norfolk as we delve into the colourful past of some extraordinary buildings. Visit these castles for a taste of the rich history that Norfolk has to offer.
As Mike Osborne explains in his book Defending Norfolk: The Military Landscape from Prehistory to the Present, Norfolk has a fascinating military history that is mirrored through the remains of Roman forts, large underground bunkers used in the Second World War and pillboxes that were built to defend our country among many other examples. Castles were one such type of structure that are militarily interesting but also house other stories from murder and treason to war and politics. We have gathered together eight castles that you can still visit today and that provide a wealth of history for visitors to absorb while exploring a part of our county’s rich story.
1. Baconsthorpe Castle
The ruined Baconsthorpe Castle, a fortified manor house, set in the dramatic rural Norfolk landscape is a Grade I listed building with an intriguing history. Located in the village of Baconsthorpe, a few miles south-east of Holt, it was originally built by the Heydon family and was expanded as their wealth increased.
2. Caister Castle
Although partially ruined, the 90 foot tower located near Caister-on-Sea is still whole and visitors can climb to the top to see the stunning surroundings. Commissioned by John Paston in 1432, Caister Castle was doomed when the Duke of Norfolk seized and in doing so caused great damage to it. Enjoy the thrilling history of this building while perusing the grounds.
3, Castle Rising Castle
With a colourful past including murder, royalty and betrayal all set in the remarkable and grand Castle Rising Castle, this is a unique day out that is sure to leave you awestruck. Explore this 12th century castle which dominates the village of Castle Rising, five miles north-east of King’s Lynn, and be enveloped in the history.
4. Castle Acre Castle
The Grade I listed Castle Acre Castle and Bailey Gate is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument in Castle Acre, close to Swaffham. Visit the motte and bailey castle and see the Bailey Gate which was built around 1200 which is still preserved with traffic still running through it.
5. Norwich Castle
Now home to the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, the 900-year-old Norwich Castle was once a Norman royal palace. It is steeped in history with a plethora of fascinating collections and a contemporary art gallery that exhibits some of the most exciting artists both old and new.
6. Thetford Castle
The motte and bailey Thetford Castle is now part of Castle Park but in the 12th century it was made to replace a much smaller castle and became the second largest man made mound in England.
7. Burgh Castle
All that remains of this Roman fort is three of the four walls that once protected it, the fourth having fallen into the Breydon Water estuary that the fort was positioned on. Located near Great Yarmouth, Burgh Castle is still a stunning and poignant place to visit not least because it is on the largest area of protected wetland in the UK.
8. Bonus: Weeting Castle
The ruins of the moated Weeting Castle located in Weeting near Brandon is made of local flint and although not technically a castle as the name suggests, it is nonetheless a stunning and tranquil historic place to visit.
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